People are at the heart of what we, and all our readers do, whether in business, security, response, preparedness or mitigation activities, whatever the hazard or threat. One of this edition’s themes is ‘Citizens and resilience’, but this brief strapline simply does not do justice to the all-encompassing nature and massive span of this multifaceted subject.
One area we explore is the impact on individuals who, during the course of their normal working lives, are suddenly confronted by tragedy. Whether they have trained for such events or not, how they deal with the situation and how they themselves cope with the consequences and aftermath, can provide valuable lessons for us all.
This is particularly true of Wilfred Kreuger’s article on page 38, describing how he and teams from Malaysian Airlines responded after flight MH17 was shot down. The lessons are manifold, not least concerning the personal resilience of staff who had lost colleagues and friends, yet endeavoured to help bereaved families and friends with professionalism, humanity and dignity.
Individual responsibility is further explored on page 32 where Daniel Kaniewski of FEMA describes the agency’s work in building societal resilience: “In a catastrophic event, the real first responders are going to be individuals. People are going to have to rely upon themselves, their families and their neighbours to survive in the immediate minutes, hours, even days, after such disasters.”
Sometimes it is necessary to reclarify the unwritten compact between government and citizens. And for this, individuals must be given the tools to understand their responsibilities, and how to be prepared, as noted by Korbinian Breinl on page 72: “Governments must provide clear information to the public about hazards and what actions should be taken at household, community and government level to increase resilience and reduce disaster risk.”
On page 36, Christina Andersson describes how the Swedish Government has empowered its citizens with the publication of a booklet called If Crisis or War Comes. To be truly resilient in the face of any type of emergency, all sectors of society must be involved, understand their role, and be prepared. This includes businesses of all sizes, individuals and communities, including those that are often overlooked and particularly vulnerable sectors.
In other words, people are the true core of resilience.